BBQ Prosciutto Wrapped Pineapple

BBQ Prosciutto Wrapped Pineapple

We have been BBQing pineapple for some time now and the other day Antonio came up with the idea of BBQ prosciutto wrapped pineapple. It sounded delicious so we tried it and it definitely was. What a great appetizer. We served it with the ginger ponzu chicken, rice, and BBQ sweet bell peppers. This time I BBQ’d the chicken in whole pieces instead of skewers to make it even faster. Talk about a fun, simple, and quick weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:
Pineapple cut into spears
Prosciutto slices
Jalapeño (Optional)
Skewers

Directions:
1. Wrap each spear of pineapple with prosciutto.
2. Pre-heat BBQ to 350 degrees
3. BBQ for 8-10 minutes over direct heat rotating to cook all sides.
4. Add skewers after removing from BBQ

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Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken Skewers

Dinner really can’t get any easier than these ginger ponzu bbq chicken skewers. Ponzu sauce is a citrus sauce used in a lot of Japanese recipes. It’s made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (from tuna), and seaweed (kombu) over medium heat. The liquid is then cooled, strained to remove the katsuobushi flakes, and finally the juice of one or more of the following citrus fruits is added: yuzu, sudachi, daidai, kabosu, or lemon. If you find it on a menu, most restaurants use the version of ponzu that contains soy sauce so be sure to confirm with the restaurant if it is or isn’t gluten free. My version of ponzu sauce is much simpler. I usually just combine citrus and soy sauce to make it quick and easy.

Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken

Ingredients
1 lb. Chicken Thighs Cut Into Cubes
1/8 Cup Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Ginger
Juice of 1 Orange
Optional – Sriracha Sauce on the side

Instructions
1. Combine all of the ingredients except the sriracha in a bowl and place in fridge for about 30 minutes to marinate.
2. Place chicken on skewers and discard remaining marinade.
3. BBQ on direct medium for 5-6 minutes per side or until fully cooked. To prevent sticking, do not flip too early. To make sure each piece of chicken gets fully cooked, make sure to place the pieces of chicken loosely on the skewers.

Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken Skewers

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Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs & Sriracha Dipping Sauce

One of my favorite meals to have in Japan was Yakitori and my favorite type of Yakitori is the Japanese meatballs or Tsukune. So many people think of Japanese restaurants as being all sushi restaurants. Sushi is not the only thing Japanese people eat. There is shabu shabu, udon, soba, yakiniku, tempura, japanese curry, okonomiyaki, and so much more. In many cities in the US it’s very difficult to find something besides a sushi place for Japanese food. Luckily in LA there are a lot of Japanese neighborhoods with lots of different styles of Japanese food. One of my favorite Yakitori places in LA is called Shin Sen Gumi . Unfortunately most of the Yakitori dishes I love are prepared with soy sauce which has wheat and I get sick from almost immediately even if I have a very small amount. I am so happy to have a great gluten free Tsukune recipe to make!

Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs Tsukune

Serves 4

Tsukune Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken or ground turkey
1/2 cup Almond Flour
1 Large Egg
2 Tbsp finely chopped scallion whites
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Soy Glaze Ingredients
1/4 cup Tamari Gluten Free soy sauce
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Honey
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch

Dipping Sauce Ingredients
Mayonnaise
Sriracha Sauce

Instructions:
1. Combine all of the Tsukune ingredients using a stand mixer.
2. Form meatballs with 2 TBSP of the mixture or about 1 inch in diameter and place on a plate. Place in fridge for approx 30 minutes.
3. Combine the soy glaze ingredients in a small pot over low heat until combined. Or, place in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute and stir.
4. Heat BBQ to medium high leaving 1 of the burners off.
5. Place Tsukune on skewers. I prefer to use these short skewers or these Paddle Skewers with 2-3 meatballs per skewer because they are perfect for serving and much easier to handle on the BBQ.
6. Grill over direct heat 5-6 minutes per side until cooked all the way through. Turn only once to prevent meatballs from sticking to the grill if you turn them too soon.
7. Move skewers to unlit burner and brush with glaze. After 2 minutes turn and brush with glaze.
8. To make the sriracha dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise with sriracha. I usually use 3 parts mayonnaise to 1 part sriracha. Add more sriracha if you want it to be more spicy.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs Tsukune

This recipe is modified to be gluten free from this recipe.

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Bloody Mary Brunch

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

I love having people over for brunch and guests love skipping the long waits at the popular brunch spots so I came up with this new idea for hosting a Bloody Mary Brunch. What could be more fun than to create a serve yourself Bloody Mary bar for your guests? There are so many ways to get creative with a Bloody Mary. And, it’s easy to turn your Bloody Mary’s into the meal by including things like Sliders, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Flavored Bacon, BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and Pickled Eggs as garnishes. This is a special post I created just for the BevMo! Thirsty Times Blog. To see the full post with everything you need to host a Bloody Mary Brunch, click here.

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

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Peach Pistachio Summer Guacamole Appetizer

I don’t think these photos do this peach pistachio summer guacamole appetizer justice. It is SO good with the sweet, ripe peaches and the crunchiness of the pistachios. Antonio’s rating of this recipe is bomb dot com and he can be a very harsh critic when it comes to food. I first had guacamole with fruit at Taco Maria at the OC Mix, my favorite shopping and dining center in Costa Mesa. This is not Taco Maria’s guacamole recipe and it doesn’t even begin to give you the full Taco Maria experience so you should definitely check them out. Their food is amazing.

I made a similar recipe for guacamole last fall using pomegranates and it was a huge hit. Now that pomegranates are not in season anymore I decided to try other fruits. This recipe can also be made with pineapple, mangoes, nectarines, or plums.

Summer Peach Guacamole Paleo Gluten Free

Ingredients:
2 Large Avocados
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Cilantro
2 Jalapeño Peppers De- Seeded and Chopped (Reduce or eliminate to reduce spice)
Juice of 1 Lime
Pistachios, shells removed
1 White or Yellow *Peach, Peeled and Diced – make sure it’s a ripe peach
Taro Chips, Plantain Chips, Sliced Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Carrots, or Celery

*Note: This recipe can also be made with pineapple, mangoes, nectarines, or plums.

Summer Peach Guacamole Paleo Gluten Free

Instructions:
1. Cut avocados in half and remove seeds.
2. Mash avocado in a bowl.
3. Add juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp Cilantro, 1-2 chopped Jalapeños, and stir.
4. Top with pistachios and peach.
5. For paleo serve with Taro Chips, Plantain Chips, Sliced Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Carrots, or Celery

Peach Pistachio Summer Guacamole

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Heirloom Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad

This heirloom tomato and peach caprese salad is definitely not my invention. If you google it you can find so many variations that all look so good. I love this salad so much that I had to share it. Not only is it fun to make and a beautiful presentation, but it’s another salad that I actually like to eat. I am not usually a tomato fan. In pasta dishes or cooked down to a sauce I am ok but don’t really like regular tomatoes on their own. However, I love heirloom tomatoes all summer long and ripe peaches are so delicious when combined with the sweet tomatoes.

There are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes and you can now find them at almost any grocery store. Some taste better than others. They have a shorter shelf life typically than regular tomatoes which is why you often see them a little too ripe in the store. I like to buy mine in the multi-package at Trader Joes and store them in the refrigerator to make them last a little longer even though the flavor is better when you leave them out.

Heirloom Tomato Peach Caprese Salad

Serves 2

Arrange the following on a plate:
1 Heirloom Tomato, Sliced
1 Ripe Peach, Sliced – yellow or white but make sure it’s ripe
Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced
Chopped Basil
Fresh Pepper
Drizzle with Olive Oil
Optional – Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Peach Caprese Salad

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Easy BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipe

These foil wrapped BBQ Baby Back Ribs are starting to become a Sunday night tradition. They are so moist, delicious, and super easy. You really can’t mess them up.

Most BBQ sauces are gluten free, however, some are not. Thankfully many brands are now labeling their sauces when they are gluten free. If the sauce is not labeled gluten free or is homemade there are several ingredients which may contain gluten. Look for ingredients like hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) also called hydrolyzed wheat protein which is a flavoring agent. Also look for worcestershire sauce, natural flavors, and natural sweeteners which may contain gluten.

Easy BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipe

This is how I modified the recipe and instructions to make them even easier.

Ingredients:
1 Rack of Baby Back Ribs (about 13 ribs) cut in half, membrane removed
1 Cup Gluten Free BBQ Sauce

For the rub:
1/2 TBSP Kosher Salt
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Crushed Fresh Garlic
2 tsp Dried Thyme
½ tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees
2. Mix the rub ingredients and spread evenly across ribs.
3. Double wrap each half rack of ribs in foil.
4. Place ribs on grill for 1 hour flipping once after 30 minutes.
5. Remove ribs and let sit for 10 minutes wrapped in foil.
6. Remove foil and place ribs directly on grill.
7. Grill for 10-12 minutes turning and basting with the BBQ sauce.

Easy BBQ Babyback Ribs Recipe 5

Easy BBQ Babyback Ribs Recipe 4

Easy BBQ Babyback Ribs Recipe 3

Easy BBQ Babyback Ribs Recipe 2

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Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

I’ve been making these Mediterranean Chicken Packets from Martha Stewart for several years and they are so delicious I decided to turn this recipe into a Mediterranean Chicken Casserole. I have gotten really lazy lately. I have great aspirations of cooking everything I love to eat but just don’t have the energy in my third trimester to cook everything I aspire to. The best thing about casseroles is they have very little hands on time. You just throw a bunch of things in a dish, put it in the oven, and forget about it until the timer goes off. That’s exactly what i’ve done for this recipe to have a great meal with very little time. You can get so much done or just relax and do nothing while dinner is in the oven making itself.

Mediterranean Chicken Caserole

Serves: 4-6
Hands On Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 lb. Boneless Chicken Breast Tenders
28 oz. Diced Tomatoes Drained
14 oz. Canned Artichoke Hearts Quartered
3 Tbsp Sundried Tomatoes
30 Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives
6 tsp Capers
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 tsp dried Oregano

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray casserole dish with olive oil.
3. Place chicken breast tenders in bottom of pan and season with salt and pepper.
4. In a bowl combine the diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, feta cheese, and oregano.
5. Pour mixture over chicken.
6. Cover dish with foil.
7. Bake covered with foil for 40-50 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

This is what my casserole looked like before I put it in the oven.
Mediterranean Chicken Caserole

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Avocado Citrus Salad

Avocado Citrus Salad

This avocado citrus salad is fun to make and is a salad you definitely want to eat. So many salads are boring and not appealing but people eat them because they feel like they have to have some vegetables. Salads for me are an opportunity to be creative, have fun, and come up with great flavor combinations that surprise the taste buds. This recipe is a summer variation of my Beet Citrus salad I like to make in the fall. I love the combination of sesame oil with the citrus. It is so refreshing and light plus super easy. A perfect addition for BBQ meals. Summer is definitely my favorite season for cooking. I can’t get enough BBQing and sitting outside to eat when the sun doesn’t set until 8pm. The best part of all is the cleanup because BBQing doesn’t make a big mess in the kitchen.

So many store bought salad dressings contain hidden gluten. It’s best to select brands that are certified gluten free. Also, beware of some vinegars that are based on gluten grains. Blue cheese dressings can potentially contain gluten and cause reactions for some people with gluten sensitivities. I prefer to make my own dressings at home because they are fresh, I know what’s in them, and I can make whatever I feel like having that day.

Here is how you make the delicious salad.

Cut and combine the following:
1 Pink Grapefruit
2 Oranges
1 Avocado
Pistachios (Optional)

For the dressing combine:
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1/2 Tbsp Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I use the pre-made one found in the herb section of the grocery store)

Just pour the dressing over the citrus and avocado right before serving.

Avocado Citrus Salad

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Capella Ixtapa Cucumber Margarita

We had an amazing stay last week at Capella Ixtapa in Mexico. It’s hard to believe we will soon be three instead of the two of us all the time. We are so incredibly excited for our baby girl to arrive and wanted to take one last trip just the two of us while we still could. We loved the Capella Ixtapa so much we left only for about 20 minutes the whole trip to the beach nearby and immediately returned. There was no reason for us to leave the resort. My favorite drink on our babymoon was the non-alcoholic Cucumber Margarita so I asked the bartender to share the recipe with me so I could make the real version after the baby arrives. The non-alcoholic version of this drink is so delicious and refreshing. The bartender didn’t show me how to make the non-alcoholic version so I made my own recipe below. I can’t wait to have the real one in a few months.

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Margarita Ingredients:
2″ Piece of Cucumber, Peeled
1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
1 oz. Silver Cointreau Orange Liqueur
1.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Agave to taste

Non-Alcoholic Margarita Ingredients:
2″ Piece of Cucumber, Peeled
2 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Agave to taste

Plus:
3 thin slices of cucumber for garnish
Tajin or Salt for rim of glass
Lime
Ice
Sparkling water (non-alcoholic version only)

Instructions:
1. Muddle the cucumber to get all of the flavor of the cucumber
2. Add the cucumber and remaining margarita ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
3. Rub lime on outside of glass and dip into Tajin or Salt
4. Fill glass with ice and pour margarita over ice.
5. Add cucumber slices for garnish

If you don’t want to muddle the cucumber, I made the non-alcoholic version with cucumber, lime juice, orange juice, and agave using a blender instead. After blending and shaking the 3 ingredients I topped it off with sparkling water and it was so delicious.

Enjoy!

Here’s more about our stay at the Capella Ixtapa:
The past couple vacations we have taken have been to Hawaii which we love for the many activities we can enjoy while on vacation. We knew I wouldn’t have the energy to go on big hikes or anything that took a lot of energy so we decided on Mexico. We picked Mexico for this trip because the food is incredibly gluten free friendly and it was a short 3 hour direct flight from LAX. The staff at the Capella Ixtapa went out of their way to ensure the food I ate had no gluten or alcohol. We mentioned my gluten intolerance the 2nd night to one waiter and every server plus the room service staff thereafter knew I had a gluten intolerance and paid special attention to everything I ordered and ate. I cannot recall a better experience anywhere I have stayed.

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

My favorite meal of the trip was the fish grill on the patio overlooking the ocean which we luckily were able to do twice.

This was the fish selection as we entered the restaurant:
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

The view from our table was breathtaking.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Our appetizer of guacamole and chips. The hotel also brought this to our room every night around 5pm. For me they brought sliced carrots and cucumber because they couldn’t guarantee the chips didn’t have any flour in them.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

This Octopus Salad was delicious and I loved the presentation.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

This was my dinner. In addition to the fish I ordered the plantains which were delicious and corn.
Capella Ixtapa Babymoon

Hopefully we will be able to return there again someday. The service was amazing. The food was incredible. It was so relaxing and the perfect vacation for what we were looking for. If you are planning a trip to the Capella Ixtapa and have any questions about our stay, please leave a comment below or email me.

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